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Lord Camber's Ladies (1932)

director Benn W. Levy
producer Alfred Hitchcock
writers Edwin Greenwood, Benn W. Levy & Gilbert Wakefield
starring Gerald du Maurier
Gertrude Lawrence
Nigel Bruce
Benita Hume
cinematographer James Wilson
running time 80 minutes
colour black & white
sound mix mono
aspect ratio 1.37:1
studio British International Pictures
distributor Wardour Films Ltd


Well-known womaniser Lord Camber is romancing famous musical comedy star Shirley Neville. However, under the name John Betterton, Camber has fallen in love with florist Janet King. Despite this, Camber marries Shirley. Janet becomes a nurse and falls in love with Dr. Napier, but Lord and Lady Camber reappear in her life. (BFI)


Following the disappointing critical reaction to Hitchcock's adaptation of the stage play Number Seventeen, British International Pictures (BIP) announced in April 1932 that the director would spend 12 months producing films for other directors.[1]

Ultimately, the only film Hitchcock would produce for BIP was an adaptation of Horace Annesley Vachell's 1915 play The Case of Lady Camber with first-time director Benn W. Levy, who had previously written dialogue for the sound version of Blackmail (1929).

Usually regarded as a minor entry in Hitchcock's career, the film starred his great friend Sir Gerald du Maurier, father of Daphne du Maurier, and popular stage actress Gertrude Lawrence. Other roles were played by Hitchcock favourites, including Clare Greet, Nigel Bruce and Benita Hume, who had been praised by critics for her acting in Easy Virtue (1928).

Hitchcock, apparently bored by the filming, and du Maurier, who hid his film-acting nerves by playing practical jokes on set, were soon disrupting the production, much to Levy's frustration. Writing later about her father, Daphne du Maurier said:

It was a wonder that the picture was ever completed at all, for hardly a moment would pass without some faked telegram arriving, some bogus message being delivered, some supposed telephone bell ringing, until the practical jokers were haggard and worn with their tremendous efforts.[2]


The film was previewed to the press on November 4th at the Prince Edward Theatre, London. Reviewed the following day in the Manchester Guardian, the commentator lamented the trend of having the top-billed actors appear in minor roles — "Gerald du Maurier only comes into the picture half-way through" — but praised Benita Hume as being "admirably unsympathetic as the nurse."

At the end of 1932, The Times newspaper reported about a special charity screening of the film, planned to take place on January 9th the following year:

The Midnight Matinée performance is in aid of the Charing Cross Hospital. British International Pictures are giving the first presentation of their new film Lord Camber's Ladies in aid of the funds. Film stars from Elstree will sell programmes, and there is to be a gala variety performance organized by Sir Gerald du Maurier and Mr. Alfred Hitchcock after the film, followed by dancing on the stage.[3]

Preservation Status

Rarely seen, a print of the film is held by British Film Institute.[4]

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DVD Releases

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Cast and Crew

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Notes & References

  1. The Times (04/Apr/1932) - New films in London
  2. "Gerald: A Portrait" - by Daphne du Maurier (1934)
  3. The Times (28/Dec/1932) - Court News
  4. The print was shown during a retrospective of early Hitchcock films held at the Everyman Cinema, London, on Sunday May 13th, 1984.